Category Archives: Thoughts on Things
The thing that I’ve discovered about poetry that I really love, just from writing, and reading, and generally just being around more of it, is that it’s completely and totally honest. That’s it. Of course, it can be blunt, or harsh, or not really all that pretty, and then conversely it can be eloquent, or filled with metaphor upon metaphor, but still it’s truthful. Poetry, like most art forms, is a way for one person to explore and explain their individual realities as well as the whole of the world around them. So really, with poetry there is just no reason to be anything less than completely and totally honest; about what your thinking, or feeling, or experiencing. And that, I think, is what makes poetry such an unbelievably freeing thing.
I do yoga. Just in my living room and off of old reruns of Inhale. I’m not doing designer yoga so I don’t have to feel bad about my next Starbucks frappuccino, but then again I’m not trying to enlighten myself either. I’m just doing yoga. Because I like the way I feel while I’m doing it and I like some of the Yogi teachings that are occasionally sprinkled into my pre-recorded living room sessions. They give me something to think about. A new lens to look through life.
One thing I have learned from my yoga experiences lately, is that it is important to be. That’s it. It’s nothing really specially. It’s just a bit of overlooked common sense really. Something I think we all forget; that there is a here and a now and they are just as (if not more so) important than tomorrow and yesterday. I’m trying to get better at embracing each day as it comes; each tear and smile and obstacle. Because they are all important, and I just want to be better at being.
Now here’s where it would seem I’m getting off track. I’m not though, I promise.
I went to a concert on Wednesday. Mumford & Sons was playing in Phoenix, where I am currently located for the summer. (Random promotional insert: They are one of my absolute favourite bands and I do encourage anyone who hasn’t heard of them to look them up!)
Now, back to yoga! Concerts are not for easily claustrophobic people. They’re crowded and cramped and you get really easily dehydrated and overheated… it’s a mess! But still, despite all that mess, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more zen then while I’m at a concert.
Okay, maybe zen’s the wrong word. But then, it’s hard to describe what I do feel. It’s peace, and a presence of mind and body and heart in a harmony that I can’t repeat anywhere else.
My television yoga instructor encourages meditation, which is supposed to be a way to let go of everything else around you for a time, to not over think and just be. I’ve tried to meditate before, but I always get distracted; I’ll either remember something I did a day or a week or a year ago, or I’ll be planning out what comes next in my head. But when I’m at a concert, or at least, when I was at that concert I wasn’t doing any of those things. I was there, and only there, and the things I have done and the things I was going to do after didn’t matter. And that was an amazing experience. Maybe it wasn’t true meditation but I have never felt such harmony like I did for that one hour and a half of my life.
I will never understand why more people don’t love Greek mythology! I mean if you look at it, it has all the makings of a wonderfully mindless television show! Just replace Olympus with ‘the House’ or whatever you call it that those New Jersey guys live in and you have instant reality TV!
Take a look at this:
Every story is a love story.
Okay maybe not every story. I’m willing to allow for a few exceptions, even if I can’t think of any off of the top of my head. And with that little disclaimer taken care of I do in fact feel confident about the above conjecture!
Maybe they aren’t all the love stories we remember being told as children. You know the ones that started with “once upon a time”, involved two beautiful leads of opposite genders and some wicked/evil/ugly villain of some sort thwarting their attempts to marry at the ripe old age of fourteen, and then of course ending with a charming little “happily ever after”. But then again, that’s not real love, that’s just fairy tale love. (There is a difference by the way.) Real love is a much bigger mess than all of that and extends past a romantic love between two fourteen year-olds of opposite genders.
So when I say that every story is a love story I mean that most of them are driven primarily by love. Sometimes there is an obvious love story that hearkens back to fairy tales, and sometimes there isn’t but that doesn’t change much of anything. The hero (or heroine) could be motivated by a love for their family, or a love for a friend, to do something outside of their everyday. They can love an idea, or a place, or a thing as well. For instance they can be in love with their money or the idea of wealth, they can be in love with achieving a lifelong dream or in love with their country, or discovery, or adventure, or just about anything else.
“Not all characters are motivated by love, some are motivated by revenge or hate, therefore you must be wrong!”
Haha! You might think so, my friends, but then consider this, hatred is usually just a love for the antithesis of whatever it is you hate. A hero (or heroine) can hate the men on the other side of their countries war, but that probably goes back to them loving their country. And revenge? Well revenge wouldn’t even be a thing if they didn’t feel like something they loved was wronged or crossed or something like that. (Keep in mind, you can love your self, or love something less physical even like the state of a friendship before it was betrayed.)
So there you have it. Not all of them may have a happy ending, but every story is a love story. Not because the guy gets the girl once he chases her down to profess his love, but because love drive most of what characters do and think and feel, and therefore often helps create the conflict of the story. If every story is a love story then it’s probably because love is what drives most of what humans do, and emulating the way the world works is after all the point of most stories. At least, this is how I see it anyway.
For anyone who has ever questioned the intrinsically chaotic and innately complex nature of the universe, I challenge you one day to walk into a coffee shop, and order a drink.
So much could be said from that one choice alone, but for now we’ll leave it be.
Once you’ve ordered, I’d ask you to take a seat. Find some small little corner you can tuck yourself away in for a while, where you can see and hear the rest of the shop around you. Now wait. Enjoy your drink and wait until it gets busy. Wait until people have queued themselves up before the register in a line long enough to wind through half the building at least. Wait until they’ve gotten their own drinks and found their own seats.
Then, I’d ask that you merely take a look around, and listen. No doubt, if your coffee shop is anything like my own, music will be playing loud enough that you can make out a beat but still too soft to ever possibly determine the words. You’ll hear the grinding of coffee beans and the scrape of a metal scoop against ice, and the call of the barista behind the counter announcing when a new drink is done. Then, though you’ll have no hope of hearing anything properly intelligible, you’ll hear a sort of collective humming that comes from the collision of the voices of every other person sitting around you.
Now if you were in a book, they would all be dismissed with something as simple as “And then he/she/it/they walked into a crowded coffee shop”. And’ if you were in a movie every noise about you would be written off as “COLLECTIVE MURMERS” or “THE THRUM OF VOICES” and you would finish your drink and leave and then that would be the end of it.
But not today. When you sit in that little coffee shop with your drink of choice, I want you to look around at everyone else in there and realize that they are all as intricate and as special and as beautiful as you are. In short, they too are human.
I want for you to let that sink in for a moment. Because they aren’t background characters, they aren’t a busy coffee shop, or a thrum. They are people, and they are just as complex as you are.
They’ve all had parents that they love, and argue with, and despise. They go home still for holidays and they’ve lost touch with those they used to love, and some of them never celebrated anything anyway so why does it matter really in the end. They’ve all owned dogs, and cats, and hamsters, and have wanted horses, and never liked their aunt’s parrot They have a favorite colour, and it’s probably not the colour of the shirt they’re wearing. They have a favorite season too, and a favorite Month, and Holiday, and day of the week, and animal for certain. They grew up struggling with allergies, and asthma, and insecurity, and bullies. They have loved and lost and probably loved again, because they can smile and laugh and cry and scream, and they have. Believe me they have done all of that a thousand times over. They work dead-end jobs, or have careers, but either way they have dreams and ambitions. They’ve fought over money, and over love, and over someone’s inability to listen to them, and they’ve come out stronger or weaker and always changed.
If this were a movie or a book, they would all be written off as nerds, and scholars, and preps, and jocks, and hipsters, and cranky old people and bratty little kids, but only if they were important enough to be written in at all. But they are important. They were all born and one day they will all die, and that is because they are human. They are messy, imperfect, contradictory, complicated, confusing, and human.
And the only thing I can hope to say after all of that, is this: If so much complexity can be found in something as small and arguably simple as a coffee shop, because really one coffee shop has to be simple when compared to even just the whole world, then how can the universe possibly be anything less than chaotically and extraordinary complicated?